The front and back covers of the exhibitors pressbook for 20th Century Fox’s 1946 release of John Ford’s My Darling Clementine. Henry Fonda’s performance as Wyatt Earp marked his return to the screen after a three-year hitch in the Navy. The actor took another extended hiatus – this time nearly eight years – to focus on stage work following Ford’s 1948 western Fort Apache.
The reformed gunfighter unable to escape his past. The greedy land baron. The gentleman hired gun with his own code of ethics. In the 1950s, these were among the most familiar tropes of the Western genre, repeated ad infinitum in an era when oaters dominated prime time television and filmmakers such as John Ford, Budd Boetticher, Delmer Daves, and Anthony Mann cranked out horse operas at the pace of one per year.
Those days are long gone, distant enough that the archetypes in a nostalgic Western such as Forsaken feel as welcomingly familiar as slipping on an old pair of boots. In Forsaken – now out on VOD and in select theaters – Kiefer Sutherland is the reluctant gunfighter, Brian Cox the greedy land baron, and Michael Wincott the genteel mercenary. Eager to leave behind his violent past and reconcile with his preacher father (Donald Sutherland), Kiefer’s John Henry Clayton heads home to Wyoming only to find the town’s farmers being forced off their land. Anyone who knows their Randolph Scotts from their Ben Johnsons can guess that Sutherland’s six-shooters won’t stay holstered for long.
Forsaken marks the feature film directorial debut of Jon Cassar following a 30-year career in television, highlighted by his Emmy-winning work as director and producer on Fox’s 24. Cassar spoke to Deep Fried Movies about making that leap. Continue Reading ›
So I came up a little short of a million classic western set pics to honor the rare occurrence of a brand new theatrical oater, A Million Ways to Die in the West. But I did manage to scrape together a few six shooters worth for the die hard western fans among us. Continue Reading ›
The 1961 western One-Eyed Jacks marks the lone directorial effort of Marlon Brando. A morally bleak yet visually lush revenge yarn, the film is now considered a classic of the genre and counts among its admirers Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.
But at the time of its release the movie was a costly albatross for Paramount and the beginning of a downward spiral of excess by Brando that tarnished his career to the point that Francis Ford Coppola had to jump through a myriad of hoops in order to cast Brando in The Godfather (1972).
One-Eyed Jacks‘ troubled production history includes the firing of screenwriter Sam Peckinpah and original director Stanley Kubrick. Brando took over as director following Kubrick’s departure and the film’s original 12 week shooting schedule and $1.8 million budget ultimately ballooned into a six-month shoot with a $6 million price tag.
Brando’s initial cut of the film ran nearly five hours. When Paramount requested substantial changes, Brando walked away from the movie and the studio sliced One-Eyed Jacks down to two hours and 21 minutes and altered the ending to a happier one.
Below is a collection of behind the scene stills from the film. The images come from a trio of sources – the blog Cinephilia and Beyond, the website Selvedgeyard.com and the blog Fifties Westerns. Toby Roan, the gentleman behind the blog Fifties Westerns, is also working on a book about Brando’s oater titled A Million Feet of Film: The Making of One-Eyed Jacks.
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Ever wonder how actors in westerns manage to stay so still atop their horses for close-ups? This still from Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) provides the answer. Below, a behind the scenes shot from Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) shows Leonardo DiCaprio atop a ladder to provide a horseback-level eyeline.
The Wild Bunch photo comes from the blog http://kinoimages.wordpress.com/, which is updated daily with film-centric images.